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tv   [untitled]    July 28, 2012 3:00am-3:30am PDT

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we're not getting anywhere on that. -- a 0.01 success rate. we're not getting anywhere on that. and we have four people who decided to take upon the 8.5% loan program. i am willing to be part of that, someone can come to me and i will give the funds. that is nothing -- it does not do anything. if you put a fund at 20%, you're not making any progress, we're not making any movement here. the last thing i heard is they had outreach planned but it is not citywide because the city is not taking this seriously enough to put in the resources. she has a grant but it is small and they will do a limited amount. at a certain point we will have to say we have a problem. california is the most serious state where this is occurring. 42% happen in california and san
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francisco is unique because of the dance -- a densely populated commercial district and the large amount of immigrant owners and small businesses that we are trying to protect. protecting small businesses is not just about doing a 1.5% payroll tax exemption. this is a more important issue that we can address. how do we address that? we take what carla johnson said. the city makes accessibility a top priority because it is a civil right. before that, i heard eric mar mentioned that the selling of mom-and-pop locations, if that is not the intent of the civil- rights act. we cannot have it both ways. it is a civil rights act, the law treats it as a civil rights law. we cannot change the law. we're not changing anything at the state level.
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1186 will be the continuance of 1608. so what are we going to do? my recommendations are simple. there are two things we can do. to invest in outreach to neighborhood businesses, add three additional out which -- outreach w workers -- workers, have a business background and provide information so they can get the assistance they need. and we can also staff one or two members who can assist in the process of promoting casp. casp is a secret program. nobody knows about the inspectors. this is something we are becoming aware of. we implemented it in 2008 and county has not taken its role to push for the success. because the counties have not been involved, 1608 has been a
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disaster. the counties have to do the advertising on the ground education to say, this is the problem, this is the carrot. we have the stick, we have the hammer, we of attendees -- we have attorneys are suing you. we can speak with the owners one-on-one and address the issue by saying we have casp inspectors, you can help prevent, it is not a cure, but at least to can do the best to prevent these lawsuits from happening. instead of being someone like hamburger heaven where we pretty much have a sign that welcomes these types of lawsuits and that is the same thing with bill's place and king of thai noodle, we are asking for a period where bidding to be said. if we have a law that encourages these types of lawsuits to occur. 22 years after the ada was
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implemented, we still have these problems and we have no progress, we will have more of these types of cases. the only way to address the issue is to say, as a city, we're going to take this seriously and treat this as the law has stated. it is a civil rights law. we're going to invest in this and we're going to put the resources so that next year, regina does not come here and say i had 6000 pamphlets sent out and six people came into the office, they might have come in by accident. if we do not have the resources to fund the office of small business, we can do it through dbi. angus mccarthy is more than willing to work with you or anyone who is interested. he is the only person from the city who has come out and spoken to me without me going to them first. he asked me to come to speak at a dbi hearing. they are a department that
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raises its own funds, they may have resources to address this, we can put a line item into the budget for next year and that is something we can discuss but you will have to put the resources, have outreach field workers, have staff that can address this issue and so we have the resources available and give assistance as needed so we do not have this situation to occur again and again. supervisor cohen: i have a question for virginia. doyou -- do you feel the city has set you up for failure? >> i do not the city has set up for failure. there could be -- there is definitely more resources that we need to apply for outreach. supervisor cohen: how many are in your pot -- in your
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department? >> there is five. we have counter hours monday through thursday 8-5. supervisor cohen: how many folks do you envision needing to conduct the outreach? if you have five people -- >> with the passage of the current budget, if we have three people, but we have before us with the passage of the budget, we will have to people working in the neighborhoods and that will -- supervisor comments you made it a strong -- carmen chu made a strong requirement that is what she would like to see happen. we do have asian neighborhood design. i do not know what the breadth of the capability of what they will be able to accomplish.
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if i can say one more thing. what i have seen over the years, we did send out the mailing. because, especially for businesses that have been in business for a long time, and have customers who have disabilities who come in and patronize their business, i think they need multiple hits. they need to multiple points of contact and repeated contact because as susan said, even as peer to peer going to talk to pare businesses, businesses do not quite understand, why do i need to pay attention to this? >> supervisor chcohen: we are talking about a policy that will be implemented tjrpigj -- through the city but it will be in some parts of the castro, the valley, parts of richmond, not
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once have i heard an example in the southeast neighborhood so i am curious. does that mean we do not have this types of problems or there is no outreach or we have not been strategically targeted for these frivolous lawsuits? >> i have extended invitations to the merchants associations and continue to do so to do presentations on disability access and the lawsuits and did do a presentation at the bayview merchants' a year ago. i would say probably for the calls and inquiries that we're getting and what we have seen from the cases filed, there has been very few in the southeast sector. >> also on my pet peeves, people associate the southeast with the baby -- bayview.
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thre is --- there is dogpatch and bayview hill. >> i have made a presentation between the -- for the bayview bridge and associations. i know i have -- pro isupervisor cohen: i know yu have done outreach. this is a pg show, a fmail-- whe stuff hits the fan, that is when they come out of the wo --
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would work. >> we are creating focus groups with businesses that have issues that we may be tried to have multiple points of contact and still have not been pro-active before receiving a lawsuit in terms of what are we missing in how we are communicating this information so that any materials we design that were as we are improving on that communication. supervisor mar: i strongly support adequate staffing as some have suggested but also different strategies especially with modeling tool business owners as well. supervisor wiener: thank you. the one question i have is it is important for us to do outreach and do legislation, what ever we can do to help our small
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businesses to make sure that we are being accessible we are also helping our small businesses protect themselves from these drive by lawsuits. that is great, we can keep doing it but fundamentally, we need changes in the state and federal law. it is a little bit, it is a task and it is important but it is hard. until we have some common-sense reform in sacramento and washington, it will continue to be a huge challenge. my question is, we have a state legislative committee, we have a state and federal lobbyists. what are we doing as a city in sacramento to try to support efforts to reform these laws? another was a measure in
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sacramento that either failed or was watered-down. senator feinstein said the letter saying if you do not do something we will try to do something federally. i know this is not just about you. what is the city doing to support these efforts? >> we do have an opportunity i think with sb 1186. we were waiting for it to be referred back to the judicial committee. what we need to do is as carla johnson had mentioned, we at the city, each of the departments and work with the supervisors to put forward a list of recommendations, we can work with you and put forward a resolution to direct the state to take some action. one of the things that is part of sb 1608 is it is supposed to
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look at the conflicting laws between state and federal. and that is going to be directed to the california commission on disability and scott is here, he was newly appointed and has not yet attended a meeting. my perspective from that is i think the commission because it has had a slow start, is still kind of -- there's a lot on a plate that we may need to escalate and direct our legislature -- legislators to take direct action. supervisor wiener: we have had situations in unrelated areas for some bill that is just awful for san francisco. all of a sudden it makes its way to the floor of the assembly. it is almost borderline too late and we do not know about it, we have not done any lobbying on
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it. and so the broader issue where we need to be more and effective in our approach particularly in sacramento, legislation there. i hope as we learn of these things will probably spread the word because i know a lot of us will be happy to carry resolutions to the board or do whatever we need to do. >> that is something i have been in discussion with and while components of the sp -- sb 1186, we do not have full agreement with some of the noticing elements in regard to civil rights. the two core components is the requirement around landlords notifying the tenants and prospective tenants and whether the property has been casp inspected or not and taking a look at what the state can do to minimize the conflicts and the
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holes and gaps between the state and federal regulation. hopefully, although it does not really address this in the bill, but also between state department such as the california historical preservation and the state architect, which governs the california building code. supervisor mar: we still have public comment and a number of people have been waiting. let me start to wrap this up. president chiu has his legislation and will they -- go back to regina. president chiu: i do want to say that i am happy that we came to an agreement around business tax reform that hopefully will help the small business communities and job creation and that being said, i was able to watch a portion of the proceedings in -- and planned to look at the presentations later
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today or this week. i also want to agree with the expression of incredible frustration from the small business community on, frankly, the fed scholastic, and local government getting -- being unable to get a good handle on this. from our perspective from the local level, these laws are set by the federal americans with disabilities act. there were further complicated by state legislation and the legislation we have in front of us i have put forth was my best attempt given what our city attorney said we were allowed to do here locally to help move the ball on this. i want to mention two quick things. i did have a conversation with senator dianne feinstein about this issue some months back. she made her first public comments on this issue. she does understand that this is a real challenge with the federal civil rights law that has been touted and has been rightfully touted as having accomplished a lot of things.
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we understand there are issues that need to be resolved at the state and local level that have been complicated and she is looking for -- she is looking to this. i want to thank the office of small businesses. their under-researched. i asked -- pushed to that one headcount to the beleaguered office of small business to increase their head count from four to five. it was a 20% increase. we can do better than that in the office that is supposed to be the clearing house and a one- stop shop for small businesses especially on this issue. we could have one staffer that spends his time working with small businesses to move us through this. i do hope as we think about future budgets we will understand the challenges the office of small business is under. i do want to get to public comment. we have been here for a while. i hope to have a conversation
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about the legislation in front of us. supervisor mar: let's move it up for-let's open it up for public comment. henry liu has been mentioned a couple of times and there are other people. please come forward if you would like to speak. victor lim is from my staff. >> i have a small restaurant in the richmond district. we get a lawsuit because of the 88. in the beginning, we do not pay too much attention to that so we get the case communicated. and we -- [unintelligible] and go to the small business
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center in the city hall and eight give us help also. whatever you get a letter silber [unintelligible] is complicated and expend a lot of money on that. -- you spend a lot of money on that. business is not so good and then you get the settlement, you get the fee, and you have to fix the restroom and everything. it has been a lot of money. i would suggest that -- i am happy and glad to the supervisor and everybody to have that meeting to bring more attention to this issue and to help small business.
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this is helpful. i know that so many more businesses, this is why this meeting is important and to help small business people. i think to city hall to do something like a lawyer, from the lawyer to help this kind of blessed. the small-business -- you spend the lawyer fee, is difficult. if city hall can provide a lawyer to of this lawsuit, it would be great and i am glad. i am glad david chiu is making
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a law to help these kinds of things. supervisor mar: thank you. commissioner mccarthy. thank you for being here. commissioner mccarthy: the testimony did an amazing job of laying out what the issues are and what small businesses have to do. i thought all this testament brought into one circle. we as a commission, we did have a hearing on this, and i heard about the businesses in your district. to fill with these people have to go through to comply and it is difficult. we live in a city that most of the buildings and it was discussed here, the different departments do not necessarily agree on how we get there. for me, what came out of that hearing was -- not to be
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flippant about it, you are asking people to come in for a root canal so it is a difficult thing to comply. it does cost $5,000 or six dozen dollars to get an expert out. people will go from month to month in the businesses and staff. it is a hard scenario for them to say ok, i will take this upon myself. supervisor chiu is dealing with his legislation. if you do not have the landlord dealing with the owner, it is difficult to get legislation. the landlord worked with the owner and the actual issue got resolved easier. that is a fundamental issue they're dealing with. the one outstanding thing i would say is the financial aspect burden, if we could figure on some way of supporting it that way, to make it an incentive for these businesses to comply would help a lot. we have good testament on the
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lawsuits. it is only a few small people that are doing it. it is not an industry. supervisor mar: what could dbi do more? >> the education and outreach program. that is something that would come forward and we can do that. we're hearing one more casp expert which is a step forward. we're looking forward to next year, we could figure out a way to do a line item for outreach. and a counter or you could go and ask questions. that would go a long way. >> thank you for this the opportunity to speak.
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i wanted to make a brief comment with respect to outreach and how better we could perhaps accomplish that. one of the wonderful things that has happened is partnering with the office of small business through regina and other efforts to combine forces and go out into the communities and educate business owners. it is critical that the outrage be conducted in language other than english and that happened through merchant association groups as well as we're starting to partner with some of the entities out there that provide pro bono legal assistance to business owners. they do not tend to happen -- handle disputes but weaving that component in to those workshops is another way to partner and
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broaden the outrage. -- outreach. supervisor mar: thank you. next speaker. >> i am the owner of a small business on twenty-fourth street. i have been as many business owners and struggling with this economy. we were named the heroes of this economy. everyone knows that we are struggling. we're getting up early and working long hours. a lawsuit for us is something no one wants to see, no one wants to sever. i just asked to everybody if
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that is the way to treat a hero. we do not feel like a hero. i work for a dream that began nine years ago and today, maybe that's my business has been growing, hiring more employees. we really need help in these cases as business owners, as part of the economy. thank you. supervisor mar: thank you. if there is anyone else that would like to speak, please come forward. we will close public comment in a moment. >> our firm has been mentioned quite a bit today. i want to flush out where it community-based organization and
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we're working with sf shines. we have done a lot of work along third street and done work in the mission. there's a lot of experience we have in terms of small businesses. for us, we look forward to this opportunity of melding our committed to work and working with different at risk communities, with small businesses. our work was always found it on folks being at risk or -- [unintelligible] this that's the mission of our organization. as technical architects and planners, we have a lot of experience with the city entities, the mayor's office of housing, dpw, mod, we are looking forward to melding the experiences we have together to solve this problem. supervisor mar: thank you.
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is there anyone else who would like to speak? sitting in -- seeing none, public comment is closed. i would like to ask regina to come up and summarize. >> thank you. so i think i want to go back to the talk about us and outreach. while as much outreach and bodies we could put on the ground would be great. some of our solutions go beyond us which leads to the recommendation or the request for the amendment to supervisor chui's legislation and mandating that the landlords to strip a brochure that is going to be provided by our office -- to provide a brochure that will be at our office. others may say differently that
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our office. i have had a couple of experiences where i have gone and given presentations to merchants associations and have stressed the concept that you are doing any improvements in that threshold, it should get a -- you should get a casp. with an evaluation threshold, you're not likely to be bringing our business up to full compliance. it is not required under the california building code. but i have architects who are then telling the business client, you are fine, you're covered, and i sort of parrot the words they is which is different than the dbi uses. they say you have the disability act waiver, you're fine, you are covered.